Renewed call for responsible use of brand mascots and media characters
A review in the US of the use of brand mascots and media characters has called for strengthening of advertising to children commitments to cover characters on food packaging and toy giveaways and other premiums. As well, the authors call for uniform standards to define healthy food that can be marketed to children and that advertisements be monitored for compliance to policies.
The systematic review found that mascots and other media characters show promise in encouraging children to eat fruits and vegetables but have a more powerful influence on children’s preferences for biscuits and confectionery. This is cause for concern given discretionary foods such as biscuits and confectionery are replacing more healthy foods in children’s diets.